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Thing 14: Identifiers and linked data

Identifiers are crucial to disambiguation of people, accurate attribution and impact metrics.  We look at identifiers for people - specifically the global people identifier: ORCID, and stray into the fascinating world of linked data.

  • Getting started:  What is ORCID and why is the Australian academic world buzzing about it?
  • Learn more:  Choose from 3 ways to cultivate your own ORCIDs
  • Challenge me: Get hands on with linked data and the semantic web.

Getting startedLearn moreChallenge me


getting started

Thing 14: Identifiers and linked data

In Thing 8 we learned about DOIs as persistent identifiers for data, as well as their role in supporting data citation.

What about identifiers for people?  Think about the many forms a person’s name may take or common names. Is the author JK Rowling the same person as Joanne Rowling and Jo Rowling?  More than 38,000 Americans have the name James Smith!

It’s important to know who’s who when looking at citation metrics as discussed in Thing 7. Universities, funders and publishers worldwide now use ORCID to differentiate between people with the same name by assigning individuals with a unique identifier.

1. Let’s start by going to ORCID. In the search box at the very top of the page, enter John David Burton to search the ORCID registry. Scan the list of results to find the entry for John David Burton.  How many versions of his name do you see?

2. Now enter Toby Burrows into the search box.

  • Open his ORCID record to see a wonderful example of a rich ORCID record.
  • Note he has combined his ResearcherID and his Scopus Author ID with his ORCID.
  • Scroll through his list of works and look closely at Source to see the wide range of sources of his publications.  Are any datasets included?  (Hint: look for Source:  Australian National Data Service (ANDS) Registry but note the publication type for research data!)

Consider: Why do you think there is an exclamation mark in the previous sentence about the publication type for research data…

Do you have a question?  Want to share a resource?


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learn more

Thing 14: Identifiers and linked data

ORCID has recently emerged as the preferred identifier for people by a range of Australian universities, funders and publishers worldwide. You can choose from three activities that will get you in touch with ORCID.

Option 1. Don’t have an ORCID record but would like one?

Use this time to create an ORCID profile and make it as complete as possible.

  1. Start here and do steps 1 and 2.
  2. When you’re done, add your ORCID to your email signature, LinkedIn profile and blog
  3. Send your new ORCID number to a colleague and ask for some feedback on your profile

Option 2. Already have an ORCID?

When was the last time you logged in to update or enhance your profile? You may be surprised at the additional functionality now available.

  1. Read Alice Meadow’s blog post ‘Six Things to do now you have an ORCID iD’
  2. Now go to your ORCID profile and update it to be as current and complete as possible
  3. When you’re done, add your ORCID to your email signature, LinkedIn profile and blog
  4. Consider using the new QR code feature for your ORCID iD in new and unchartered ways

Option 3. Don’t want an ORCID?

Get up to date with the latest features, functionality and news on the ORCID blog and explore the Australian ORCID Consortium (most Australian universities are members).

Consider: how funders and publishers are using ORCID and what impact that will have on you, your institution and researchers.

Do you have a question?  Want to share a resource?


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Challenge me

Thing 14: Identifiers and linked data

Identifiers are an important component of research data management. Computer applications use them for identifying datasets, for searching and retrieval, and for linking or connecting data.  In Thing 8 we looked at Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for identifying data.  In the Getting started and Learn more activities of Thing 14 we focussed on ORCIDs for identifying people. So, how do identifiers fit with Linked Data?

The term Linked Data refers to a set of best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the Web.  Identifiers are an important component of Linked Data as URIs (or Universal Resource Identifiers), along with HTTP and RDF (Resource Description Framework) are the key technologies that underpin Linked Data. What is Linked Data and the Semantic Web and what is all the hype about?

1. Start by reading an introduction to these concepts from LinkedDataTools.

2. Have a go at completing some or all of the 5 short (5 min) Semantic Web Primer tutorials:

  1. Introducing Graph Data
  2. Introducing RDF
  3. Semantic Modeling
  4. Introducing RDFS & OWL
  5. Querying Semantic Data

If you have time:  Try out the free online RDF data validator in Tutorial 4 to describe research objects.

Consider: how these tools could be used to support linked data

Do you have a question?  Want to share a resource?


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in 23 (research data) Things